Spotlight on Pakistan

Since resuming executions in December 2014, the Pakistani authorities have gone on an unprecedented killing spree. Pakistan already had the world’s largest death row at around 8,000 people – now it is also one of the world’s most prolific executioners.

Pakistan has gone from a non-executing state to executing over 400 people since the end of a 6-year death penalty moratorium in 2014. Those killed include juveniles, prisoners who were tortured into ‘confessions’, and others who have subsequently been found to have been innocent.

The Pakistani Government seems indifferent to the plight of the many prisoners who should not even be on death row – those arrested as children, or suffering from severe physical or mental illnesses.

So-called ‘crimes’ punishable by death in Pakistan include non-violent drug offences, adultery, apostasy and blasphemy.

Notable executions

Aftab Bahadur was sentenced to death as a child. Despite clear evidence of his innocence, and in violation of international and Pakistani law, Aftab was executed on Wednesday 10th June 2015 in the early hours of the morning.

At the age of 15, Aftab was sentenced to death by hanging even though he was a child. His conviction was largely based on testimony from two witnesses, who later recanted their statements which had also been extracted through torture.

During his time on death row, Aftab turned to poetry and art, and spent much of his time painting signs for the Kot Lakhpat Jail that held him.

Video: David Morrissey reads Aftab’s final letter from death row Watch now

Quick facts

Execution method


Executions in 2017

So far, at least 15 people have been executed (as of May 2017).

Executions in 2016

87 executions were carried out in 2016.

Executions in 2015

At least 325 executions were carried out in 2015.